Writer: Bernd Eichinger (Screenplay) Joachim Fest, Traudi Junge, Melissa Muller (Book)
Starring: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Corinna Harfouch, Ulrich Matthes, Ulrich Matthes, Juliane Kohler, Heino Ferch
Plot: Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator’s final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.
Tagline – April 1945, a nation awaits its…
Runtime: 2 Hours 36 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Powerful & Revealing
Story: Downfall starts as we see Traudi Junge (Lara) hired by Adolf Hitler (Ganz) to be his next secretary, she would stay in this role for 2 and half years, as we pick up the story as the Nazi’s soldiers are facing the battle to keep Berlin, one of their last strong holds in Europe.
In the final days we see how Hitler is losing the loyalty of the ones he trusted most and is finding himself facing certain defeat, but he isn’t going down without fighting.
Thoughts on Downfall
Characters – The characters in this movie are based on real people, any discussion is only about how they are depicted in this movie, my opinions are not being discussed here. Adolf Hitler is the leader of the Nazi’s they have been at war with Europe for years, not the battle looks like it will be ending, he has lost faith in the people he trusted to lead for him and no he is cleaning up the people that betrayed him, preparing for defeat, but never giving up full hope in recovering. This version of Hitler is like any dictator that is about to lose, he has given everything for his own belief and demands loyalty through even the worst times. Traudi Junge is the final secretary for Hitler, she is one of the only non-military people to know what Hitler was thinking, how he was acting in those final days. We do meet plenty of the people closest to Hitler, family and military in the final days the ones that stood with him and the ones that betrayed him.
Performances – Bruno Ganz is fantastic in this leading role, he gives us multiply memorable moments even though he is playing such a hated man in history. Alexandra Maria Lara is great in her role while the cast in the whole does nothing wrong all giving us great performances through the film.
Story – The story here shows the final days of Hilter’s reign of terror over Europe, now this isn’t going to be something that everyone will want to see, because we know how diabolical the actions of the Nazis were. Withdrawing myself from any personal connection to this story, we are left with a very interesting take on how a fallen dictator will be taking everything before the battle is finally over, how the people closest to him would act, be it fear of him, fear of the consequences or even the reality they could now be free from his power. The chaos is clear to see, the betrayal he feels is shocking to see for someone that is meant to be so feared by his own side and the relief for the innocent is clear to see. This story isn’t going to be easy to watch, but the story is essential for any war historian.
Biopic/History – Seeing the final days of Hitler before facing his impending defeat is interesting to see unfold the biopic and historical side of the film shows this in an accuracy unheard of before.
Settings – The film does take us to what feels like a realistic setting for the whole film, the middle of battle at times and in the last strong hold Hitler held.
Final Thoughts – This is one of the most essential historical viewings of any movie, it shows the defeated dictator facing his reality while the high ranking generals etc doing whatever it takes to serve or betray him to survive.
Overall: Must watch historical drama